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Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Cang Lan had left. Eldest senior brother, second senior brother, Xu Hui, and Yu Xuan had also sat on Su Ming’s boat and reached the other side of the River of Forgetfulness. Su Ming went back and forth through the river in circles, just like how life and death moves back and forth in circles.
Time passed, and an unknown number of years went by without Su Ming’s knowledge. He was no longer a middle-aged man, but had white hair on his head. He had already turned into an old man.
In the setting sun, he was an old man with a straw hat sitting on a lonely boat.
He stayed alone as time passed outside the wooden house. One cycle of sixty years went by just like that. From the start to the end, Su Ming never took even half a step into the wooden house. It was as if its door was a ravine separating the sky and earth. On the other side of it was a place where everything woke up, and on this side were the lights from all the houses on the ground while Su Ming sat and stared at the lamp he had lit.
The winter arrived incredibly early. Snow fell and covered the ground. If anyone took a look outside, they would no longer remember how green looked like. The cold brought with it a chill that seemed to be able to freeze everything, but the waters of the River of Forgetfulness were a flame that the cold could never freeze…
The other riverbank seemed to still be in spring. The vague beauty and brilliance of flowers on the other side could be seen.
The river’s two banks were separated by the cycles of life and death, by the world, and by each individual person…
The freezing wind howled, and sow filled the entire world. On a day when the sun hung high in the sky and a person would only see a world covered in snow when they raised their head, the sound of horse hooves rang in the air. Judging by the sound of them, there was more than a single person coming over, but a group…
When Su Ming looked over, he saw nearly one hundred thousand people donned in armor and riding war horses charging forth from the blizzard in the distance. The person in the lead was a man riding on a purplish red horse. He was dressed in golden armor atop a fur shirt while his blood-red cloak fluttered in the wind.
There were nails embedded into his horse’s horseshoes to prevent it from sliding down. The noise the horse made when it galloped forward was incredibly clear, despite the snow and mixing with all the other sounds of the horses charging forth.
There was no other sound coming from the one hundred thousand people. Each of them silently followed the person in the blood-red cloak in the lead. They seemed ready to go with him through mountains, worlds, and their present and next lives.
They were a huge army that existed in the world which belonged to all lives. The huge, tiger-like man in the lead had eyes that seemed to burn with rage. When he glared, his face was awe-inspiring, and it was enough to make the cowardly shudder once they saw him. They would not dare to meet his gaze.
That man was clearly the army’s general, who was shrouded with a murderous aura. In his left hand he held the reins of the horse, and in his right he held a pot of wine. He drank from it nonstop.
The fragrance of wine filled the air, but the man did not appear drunk. Instead, his murderous aura grew stronger. He exuded a heroic presence, and the white smoke he breathed out seemed to fuse together with the white puffs of air from his horse. The army of one hundred thousand people seemed to be hidden behind a storm of white sand.
When anyone looked at the geneal, they would be unable to avoid getting a deep impression of him.
The sound of horse hooves ws not chaotic and gradually stopped before Su Ming’s wooden house. Su Ming lifted his head and looked at the army—it stretched to an endless distance. He loooked at the one hundred thousand faces, then directed his gaze to the man in the lead.
The man who looked like a tiger took a big swig from his wine pot, but he did not look tipsy. A murderous light shone in his eyes when he glared over.
Su Ming was looking back at him. When their gazes met, the tiger-like man picked up his pot of wine and took a big gulp from it again. The breath he exhaled turned into white mist when he shouted loudly.
“Hey, ferryman, why do you look so familiar? Could it be that this Grandpa Hu has met you before? Tell me, have you seen me before?!”
The man’s voice was like a tidal wave and a thunderous clap. When it echoed in the area, the horse under him shuddered from the shock delivered by the volume of his voice. It was as if it was not carrying a person, but a real tiger.
Su Ming smiled. His smile was very happy. He had finally seen Hu Zi as well as the one hundred thousand Ninth Summit’s disciples he led. They had once followed him to conquer the galaxy and swept through all places with him.
The right to decide which Ninth Summit disciples were to go to the other side of the riverbank was clearly not in eldest senior brother’s hands, since he did not care, and not in second senior brother’s hands either, because he had handed this right to Hu Zi.
Even though Su Ming had already told Hu Zi Tian Xie Zi’s words and Hu Zi understood what he meant, but in this life, he still chose to be with Ninth Summit’s disciples until eternity and until they reachedd the other side of the riverbank.
And then, they had finally reached the river.
“Of course you know me, you’re my senior brother,” Su Ming said softly. He stood up and walked into the boat. When he turned his head and looked at Hu Zi, he nodded with a smile.
“I’ve waited for you for a long time. Our eldest senior brother is there, and our second senior brother too. They are both waiting for you…”
Su Ming’s voice echoed in the winter land. When it reached the tiger-like man’s ears, he was stunned. Confusion appeared on his face, as if memories from his past and new life had overlapped at that instant. His grip on the pot of wine loosened without his knowledge, and the pot fell to the ground… The porcelain shattered, and the wine in it spilled out…
The wine seemed like one hundred thousand drops of water that fused with the snow and ice on the ground…
The man shook his head, then seized the air with his right hand. The time on the shattered wine pot seemed to distort, and the wine that had fused with the snow and ice gathred back. In the end, the shards turned into an undamaged pot of wine that appeared in the man’s hand again.
At that moment, the one hundred thousand man army behind him turned into nothingness and disappeared.
There was some sort of understanding on the man’s face. He got down from his horse and stepped into Su Ming’s boat, where he sat down at the bow of the boat.
A moment ago, they were still by the riverbank, and the next instant, they had already crossed the River of Forgetfulness and reached the other side . The person at the bow of the boat seemed to have immersed himself in a cycle of life and death during that moment. He sat in a daze with a pot of wine in his hand. When he turned his head around, he looked at the ferryman at the end of the boat.
“Youngest junior brother…”
When a murmur tumbled out of the man’s lips, the sound of water falling on the boat echoed in the air, but it was not due to rain from the sky. The sound came from Hu Zi’s tears.
While still wearing the straw hat, Su Ming lifted his head and looked at Hu Zi with a smile on his face. It held his blessings, causing the winter to no longer be cold, and making it so that even the River of Forgetfulness seemed to have turned into the Milky Way.
“Eldest senior brother and second senior brother are there, but you’re not…” Hu Zi stared at Su Ming absent-mindedly. He felt as if he could hear a phrase that might belong to the past or the present.
“Hu Zi, don’t cry…”
The solitary boat still left in the end. The empty bow of the ship seemed to serve as a background for the bleakness at the end of the ship.
Hu Zi could be seen staring at the solitary boat leaving into the distance from the other side, and it was… as if second senior brother and eldest senior brother were by his side, staring at the River of Forgetfulness together with him. They wanted to use their gazes to keep the image of the ninth summit of the past in their minds.
Another ten years passed.
A scholar came forward with a box of books behind his back. He walked under the skies of spring, and the scroll in his hand seemed to hide words that would last for eternity in the world. During a day when the sun hung high in the sky, he arrived outside the wooden house and stood beside Su Ming.
“A fortune teller told me I have lost a part of my soul. He told me to walk in the direction to the east, to move through mountains, rivers, plains, spring, summer, autumn, winter, until I see a river, a wooden house, and a ferryman who will let me find the missing part of my soul…
“Is that you?”
Su Ming lifted his head. The straw hat shielded him from the sun, causing the ancient look on his face to be indistinct. He stared at the scholar before him and the scroll in his hand, and a gentle look appeared on his face.
The man was Chang He. Su Ming had once promised him that he would resurrect his wife, and he had never forgotten this promise. The promise in the past was a cause, and right then… Chang He’s words were telling him that he wanted his results.
“It’s me,” Su Ming said faintly.
“Then where is the other part of my soul?” the scholar asked Su Ming.
Su Ming closed his eyes. After a long while, he opened his eyes and said gently, “She’s in your hand.”
The scholar was momentarily taken aback. He then bent his head to look at the scroll in his hand as if he had come to an understanding. He opened the scroll, and when he looked at it… the words in it had disappeared to form into a picture.
In that picture was a woman. She looked to be alive and staring back at him with a smile as if she had been looking at him for thousands of years and waiting to appear before his eyes.
The scholar was silent for a while before he lifted his head to look at Su Ming. “But this… is just a picture.”
“Look at the other side of the river.” Su Ming stood up with a smile and went to the end of the boat.
The scholar looked in the direction where Su Ming had looked, to the other bank of the River of Forgetfulness. There seemed to be a vague shadow of a woman’s figure standing there.
As he watched, the scholar began to smile in a way of his previous life. He entered the boat, and as it moved through the River of Forgetfulness, the figure on the shore became clearer and closer to them. When they reached the bank and he got off, he looked at the woman. The two of them watched each other for a long time. When they turned their heads around, they could no longer see the lone boat belonging to Su Ming in the River of Forgetfulness.
Half of the second cycle of sixty years had passed without his knowledge. During another autumn, an old man arrived outside Su Ming’s wooden house.
The old man was dressed in a sackcloth, and his white hair danced in the autumn wind. There were a lot of wrinkles on his face, and each of them seemed to contain a sense of age. He walked to the River of Forgetfulness and stared at its waters. After a long while, he turned his head around and looked at Su Ming, who had stood up under the wooden house.
“Many years ago, a scholar came to me. I told him to head east over mountains, rivers, and plains until he saw a wooden house. The person he sought would be waiting for him there.”
There was a kindly look on the old man’s face when he looked at Su Ming.
Su Ming stared at the old man, and an expression that was rarely seen on appeared on his face—one of a member of a younger generation seing a senior member of their family.
“Come. Take me across the river.”
The old man’s expression became even more kindly and affectionate. When he looked at Su Ming, gratification and a reluctance to part appeared in his eyes, but he did not give voice to his feelings. Instead, he sat down at the bow of the boat.
The sun set in the west, and the sky turned dark. Glittering stars lit up, and the boat arrived at the other side of the river.
The elder turned his head around to look at Su Ming, then spoke softly, with his words holding great significance.”Remember this sky.
“It will be the guide leading you back home during the night… Every time you lose your way home, raise your head and look at the sky. If you can see these stars, you will know that your home… is no longer far away, and your family… is waiting for you.”
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